The Government’s blueprint for tackling climate change is published today.
The draft Climate Change Bill, the first of its kind in any country, and accompanying strategy, set out a framework for moving the UK to a low-carbon economy. It demonstrates the UK’s leadership as progress continues towards establishing a post-Kyoto global emissions agreement.
Key points of the draft bill include:
Office of climate change starts work
"Climate change is one of the biggest problems facing the UK and the world, and we need to ensure that the action we are taking as a Government is co-ordinated and as effective as possible. The new Office of Climate Change will help us meet that challenge."
The Office will co-ordinate climate change activity across Government based on sound, objective analysis and drive forward progress on climate change policy and strategy.
Mr Miliband said that the Office would be staffed by a mix of people from other key Departments, reporting to a Ministerial Board.
The OCC will be governed by a Ministerial Board chaired by the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and including the Foreign Secretary, Secretaries of State from DCLG, DTI, DfID and DfT, the Financial Secretary, and relevant Ministers of State. (Press release)
Wellbeing projects completed
Two Defra commissioned research projects looking at wellbeing concepts and measures and their role in policy making have been completed. One of the projects reviews the evidence on what factors influence wellbeing, and to understand how these might vary according to different definitions of wellbeing, and the policy significance of these. A second project considers the relationship between wellbeing and sustainable development and looks at how a wellbeing focus in policy might conflict with or support sustainable development; how wellbeing is best conceptualised in sustainable development policy contexts; and how a wellbeing focus might facilitate sustainable development policy. Download the reports:
Mexican 'power from pig waste' project wins approval
An innovative series of projects that generate electricity from pig waste in Mexico have been approved under the Clean Development Mechanism.
Climate Change Minister Ian Pearson welcomed the approval of the 31 small-scale projects, which bring the number of Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) approved projects with UK participation to 124. Mr Pearson said:
"These projects are an excellent example of how the Clean Development Mechanism can make a difference to the local economy and standard of living in developing countries, encourage clean growth, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Mexico is one of the biggest producers and consumers of oil, so by using methane to generate clean electricity and heat on site, these projects are reducing reliance on a dirty, non-renewable source of power. The techniques that allow this energy to be produced at a lower cost can be replicated around Mexico and exported to the world." He went on to say:
"Pork production is increasingly shifting to developing countries and Mexico is a major producer. By pursuing projects like this one that support producers and local workers, improve the local environment and contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, Mexico is playing a major international role and the UK is proud to support their efforts."
The 31 Mexican projects use methane gas recovered from pig waste at piggeries run by Granjas Carroll, and will mitigate 310,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent every year by reducing reliance on the Mexican electricity grid.
The environmental benefits include an overall decrease in greenhouse gas emissions, improved air quality, an improvement in waste water quality, and potential for its use in irrigation by neighbouring farms instead of being dumped into clean waterways.
The projects will also create local skilled jobs involved in manufacturing, installing, operating and maintaining equipment and additional employment opportunities in the agri-industrial sector as a result of using recycled water for irrigation on surrounding farms. (Press release)
Guide to state of our environment, society and economy
An updated picture of the UK's environmental, social and economic wellbeing has been published today, with more than half the official measurements showing improvement.
Sustainable development indicators in your pocket contains the latest set of pointers to the state of the nation across a range of concerns including health, housing, jobs, crime, education and the environment, measuring progress of the UK's sustainable development strategy
The set of 68 indicators includes 'traffic lights' to signal where things are getting better, worse or staying the same . Of all the distinct messages from the indicators (many indicators comprise more than one measure) there are 53 measures which show improvement, 17 show deterioration, and 24 show no change, compared with the situation around five years ago.
Transforming English regions through sustainable economic growth
By creating 100,000 new jobs, levering over £754million of private sector investment and bringing back 1,000 hectares of brownfield back into use during a 12 month period, the nine English Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) continue to demonstrate their key role in meeting the Government's goal of sustainable development.
Today sees the release of 'Smart Productivity' - an RDA publication which reveals how investment in sustainable development initiatives can contribute to long term economic growth, environmental sustainability and social inclusion. Richard Ellis, chair of the East of England Development Agency (EEDA) said:
"Sustainable development is key to the work of all regional development
agencies. Our unique role within the regions gives us the opportunity
to plan for long term gain rather than quick fixes. By encouraging business
to make better use of their resources, fostering innovation to get more
from less and providing the workforce with the right skills, we can truly
say we are leading the sustainability economic growth agenda."
Ian Pearson, Minister of State for Climate Change and the Environment said:
"Faced with the increasing pressures on our environment and natural
resources, it is essential that we move towards a pattern of more sustainable
economic growth. This is an exciting time for innovation and creativity.
England's Regional Development Agency's are central to the regions' delivery
and this publication illustrates exactly how RDAs are achieving economic
success in a way that delivers our key UK goals on sustainable development
- thus turning the philosophy of 'Smart Productivity' into reality."
Defra and the Local Government Association launch new guide for local councils
Defra and the Local Government Association have today jointly published a new guide for local councils which will help them put the environment at the heart of all they do. The guide provides practical ideas, case studies and sources of advice about how different council services can help deliver environmental sustainability. This includes how councils can buy goods and services in a way which helps protect the environment and the way in which councils can lead their communities on the big issues like climate change.
"Sustainable Communities: A shared agenda, a share of the action" was launched today at LGA's Annual Conference by Ian Pearson, Minister for Climate Change and Environment.
Ian Pearson said:
"I am delighted that Defra and the LGA are today launching a new joint publication that will help local councils create genuinely sustainable communities. It offers practical ideas about the ways in which key council services like education, transport, children's services and economic development can all contribute to the environmental well-being of the area. A genuinely sustainable community can only be achieved if local economic and social priorities also contribute to priorities on the environment like climate change and the conservation of our precious natural resources"
Sandy Bruce-Lockhart, Chairman of the Local Government Association, said:
"Councils must take the lead in managing and improving the environment
of the local area. The many aspects of the environment, such as climate
change, waste, biodiversity and water are inextricably linked yet they
are managed by many different agencies. Local authorities are uniquely
placed to join up and co-ordinate the management of environmental issues
in a way that will make a real difference in transforming an area."
28 June 2006
Every action counts, Miliband urges green action from voluntary groups
Environment Secretary David Miliband today launched the three-year scheme, Every Action Counts , which is designed to help community groups, clubs and societies across England get involved in simple environment-friendly actions which will make a big difference.
David Miliband said:
"Every community group big and small, rural and urban, can do something to make a difference. Every Action Counts will help unlock the potential of local groups and clubs across the country to encourage more people to join in and help to meet the big environmental challenges all of us face".
The initiative will offer direct support to these local community groups. Over 1,000 Every Action Counts Community Champions will provide advice and expertise, and new community action packs will be made available to help clubs and groups action simple but effective initiatives such as saving water in community buildings or creating wildlife havens on club grounds.
Government launches compulsory energy rating for homes to help cut carbon emissions
Energy ratings similar to consumer-friendly fridge ratings will have to be produced for every home bought and sold in England and Wales from next June. Housing Minister Yvette Cooper today launched the new Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) which will be an essential part of the Home Information Packs to be introduced next year. The certificates will give home buyers and sellers A to G ratings for their home’s energy efficiency and carbon emissions. They will tell them current average costs for heating, hot water and lighting in their home as well as how to cut costs with energy efficiency measures. (Press release)
Sustainable Procurement National Action Plan launched
The independent, business-led Sustainable Procurement Task Force today launched its National Action Plan - 'Procuring the Future'. The National Action Plan highlights the need for government to lead by example, communicate clear priorities, capture opportunities, raise standards and reduce barriers in an effort to drive sustainable procurement forward.
The Task Force, chaired by Sir Neville Simms, was established to provide advice to the public sector on how it can be amongst the EU leaders in Sustainable Procurement by 2009, as committed by the Government's Sustainable Development Strategy 'Securing the Future' in March 2005.
The National Action Plan was formally presented to the Rt Hon David Miliband, Secretary of State for the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Rt Hon Stephen Timms, Chief Secretary to the Treasury.
Sir Neville Simms says,
"I urge the government to welcome, and quickly adopt the six key recommendations highlighted in this National Action Plan. Too often, the business side of government - the service provision, the purchasing, and the employment - fails to reflect its policy goals. All these areas can play a role in delivering genuine sustainability, with real social, environmental and economic benefits for us all. Parts of the private sector are already doing it, and they expect to see the public sector doing the same. The message from the Task Force is simple: this is worth doing, it is not difficult, it will not cost more in the medium term and the dividends it will bring in the long term are clear ." (Download the document/Read the newsletter feature article on the National Action Plan)
Government respond to the launch of the Sustainable Procurement Action Plan
A range of new public sector sustainability targets, including a pledge that the Government office estate will go carbon neutral by 2012, were announced today by Environment Secretary David Miliband.
Mr Miliband was responding to a report published today from the independent Sustainable Procurement Task Force. He said that the Government would " put the UK on a more sustainable path ", by improving the way it buys goods and runs its offices. It would aim to be a leader in sustainable procurement in the EU by 2009.
Prime Minister Tony Blair, who today met the Task Force leader, Sir Neville Simms, said:
The Government spends £150bn a year on goods and services. Changing the way we spend this money, so it helps prevent climate change and protects our environment, could have a huge impact. This report points the way forward, and we will look seriously at its recommendations.
Stephen Timms, chief secretary to the Treasury, said:
I am very grateful to Sir Neville and the Task Force for all their hard work in putting this report together. I encourage all those involved in spending public money to read it, in particular the many examples of good sustainable procurement practice already happening that we want to see more of across the country.
Mr Miliband added:
Government and the public sector have a key role to play in the new
environment contract. The Task Force has suggested how we can use our
purchasing power to achieve that.
Sustainable operations on the Government estate - new targets launched
On 12 June Government launched new targets for sustainable operations on the Government estate, alongside the Sustainable Procurement Task Force Action Plan.
At the launch of the cross-Government Sustainable Development strategy – Securing the Future - the Prime Minister committed Government to lead by example in promoting sustainable development.
The Sustainable Operations Board, has undertaken a review of how Government manages its land and buildings sustainably, and has recommended new targets.
This new approach to sustainable operations unveils a ‘step-change’ in the Government’s sustainable development policy on its own estate. With more focus on delivery, it will mean that these targets, though fewer in number, will catalyse change more effectively. These new targets show leadership and a willingness to challenge ourselves to make substantial changes to the way we operate in the following key areas:
Alongside the targets, a common series of enabling activities have been mandated to ensure implementation and delivery against specific commitments.
If we are to make progress against these objectives, it is important that everyone in Government, should put their weight behind them. The Sustainable Operations Board will therefore be looking at strengthening leadership and capacity in Departments so that these operational goals can be delivered. (Download the new targets)
Education Secretary Alan Johnson today launched a framework for action
for schools to become models of sustainable development in their communities.
Buyers have the power - business, government and consumers share the responsibility
Environment Secretary Margaret Beckett today welcomed the report of the Sustainable Consumption Roundtable and promised the government would take a lead in helping consumers make choices which are more sustainable. She said:
"I thank the Roundtable for its excellent work, combining as it has a wide range of inputs from business and interested organisations. I thank it also for its excellent timing. There is an increasing public interest in the environment and in ethical consumption. The government is taking a lead both through its own choices of consumption and also in enabling consumers and business to reduce their environmental impacts. If everyone consumed as we do in the UK, we would need three planets' worth of natural resources. In the UK, and in most other rich and developed countries, we are currently consuming way beyond our environmental means. Consumers can be strong where they become empowered and enthused. Increasingly, we are seeing retailers and manufacturers, and the media, respond to this new consumer-driven demand." (Full story/Download the document)
From the farm gate to the plate - Margaret Beckett sets out goals for a sustainable food industry
A strategy to tackle the impact of the food industry on precious resources, such as energy and water, and its contribution to climate change, was published by Margaret Beckett, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, today.
The Food Industry Sustainability Strategy has been developed in partnership with the food and drink industry and others. It aims to improve the industry's environmental, social and economic performance, by developing a strong partnership between government and industry. It addresses all sectors of the food industry, beyond the farm gate to the consumer's plate. (Full story/Download the document)
Elliot Morley launches Securing the Regions' Futures
Almost exactly one year on from the launch of Securing the Future - the UK Sustainable Development Strategy - we have published 'Securing the Regions’ Futures'. The report highlights the valuable contribution the regions have already made to sustainable development and how they will balance and integrate economic, social and environmental considerations in future. The report shows how we are working with the RDAs to ensure that the Regional Economic Strategies they draw up every three years are underpinned by strong sustainable development principles. We have also made a commitment to publish guidance to Regional Assemblies, which supports and clarifies their role on sustainable development.
The report will make a significant contribution towards the development of sustainable communities. It is vital that decision-making is at the right level, and we believe our regional partners have key roles to play alongside national and local government. We at national level will continue to empower our regional partners to ensure that new development promotes prosperity in a way that also delivers environmental and social objectives.
Everyone has a role to play to make sustainable development a reality. Our report aims to provide an enabling framework for enhanced regional delivery of sustainable development. We hope this will help regions to further progress sustainable development outcomes. (Background/Download the Document)
New climate change programme sets out UK agenda for action domestically and internationally
An ambitious programme to tackle climate change domestically and to secure agreement on action to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions was published by the Government and devolved administrations today.
The UK has one of the best records of any country in tackling greenhouse gas emissions. The Climate Change Programme builds on the UK's position as leading the world in promoting global action on climate change setting out policies and priorities for action in the UK and internationally. The measures to reduce emissions target every sector of the economy and include:
Environment Secretary Margaret Beckett said:
"This ambitious programme sets out our plans for tackling climate change at global, national and individual level. All three are essential. Climate change is a global problem that needs global solutions. But we must act now to meet our commitments. This programme contains a package of far-reaching measures that will affect all the major sectors and sources of UK emissions." (Download the document)
OPDM launches its Sustainable Development Action Plan
The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) has published its Sustainable Development Action Plan to highlight progress in implementing its commitment to sustainable development through its policies for creating sustainable communities.
The Action Plan sets out how the ODPM is contributing to the cross-Government UK Sustainable Development Strategy, 'Securing the Future', launched by the Prime Minister in March 2005. ODPM Sustainable Development Minister Baroness Andrews said:
"Our aim at the ODPM is to create sustainable and inclusive communities for the 21st century, places where people want to live, that promote opportunity and sustain a better quality of life for all. Creating sustainable communities therefore means putting principles of sustainable development into practice.The ODPM acknowledges the long-term nature of the challenge, particularly in regard to climate change, and the need to make serious changes in policy and behaviour now across the economy and society. This Action Plan sets out our commitment and contribution to the UK Sustainable Development Strategy over the next 12 months." (Full story/Action Plan)
Nuclear not the answer say the Sustainable Development Commission (SDC)
Nuclear power is not the answer to tackling climate change or security
of supply, according to the Sustainable Development Commission.
Have your say in the Government's new waste strategy
"We all create waste, and so we all need to play a part in reducing the waste we produce and dealing with the waste we do produce more responsibly. Fundamentally, the revised waste strategy is about reducing the environmental impact of waste: reducing the impact on climate change, conserving limited natural resources and reducing risk to health and the environment from potentially harmful substances in waste. To achieve this the revised waste strategy will offer a clearer, longer-term vision for waste and resource management, linked closely with our action plan on sustainable production and consumption. It will also outline how we can work together to achieve this. Therefore it will be vital for everyone - from householders and builders to supermarkets and banks - to have their say in the Strategy and how it will take us towards our goals." (Full Story/respond online)
Voluntary sector organisations invited to express interest in delivery of new England-wide community support programme on sutainable development
Voluntary sector organisations have until the 3rd of March 2006 to express interest in developing a consortium or partnership to deliver Community Action 2020 community support programme. (Download Expressions of Interest document, PDF 93kb/ Further information on Community Action 2020)
National Search Launched Today for
UK's First Ever Young "Climate Change Champions"
The young climate change champions
will spend a year 'in office' spreading the world about climate change
to their region through local activities. They will also have a number
of engagements throughout the year, including a fact-finding tour to Switzerland
to witness the effects of climate change at the Gurschen glacier. They
will also have the opportunity to meet with a senior Government Minister
to discuss climate change in the UK and their ideas for how to communicate
about this issue. Mr Morley, who will launch the search for the climate
change champions, at Morpeth School, Portman Place, London later today,
"The Government is committed to tackling climate change. We owe it to future generations to do all we can to change public attitudes in favour of a more climate-friendly way of life.
Young people in Britain care
deeply about the environment and they have a vital role to play as champions
in their communities. I very much look forward to seeing the ideas put
forward by prospective climate change champions and meeting the final
nine once they are selected." (Full
Government launches 'greener' van driver scheme
Van drivers will soon benefit from a new advanced
driving scheme launched by Transport Secretary Alistair Darling today.
The £1.3m Safe and Fuel Efficient Drivers (SaFED) Scheme aims to
encourage safer, cleaner and cheaper driving. It will fund 200 instructors
to offer training initially to 3,500 van drivers across the country. The
new scheme follows a successful pilot project that found significant financial
and environmental gains could be made by using advanced driving techniques
without any noticeable impact on delivery times. Benefits for a typical
driver doing 20,000 miles a year could include:
The optional one day course involves a mix of classroom and on-the-road tuition and teaches the use of driving techniques such as better use of gears (avoiding over-revving and missing out unnecessary gear changes), keeping correct braking distances (not braking hard), fuel economy and better road awareness (seeing junctions in good time). (Full story)
New environmental reporting guidelines
launched to help businesses
"All quoted and large private companies preparing the new Business Review will need to report significant environmental issues. The Business Review represents a significant advance in narrative reporting standards, including those for environmental reporting.
But these reports required under the EU Accounts Modernisation Directive need not be a burden. To help companies make the most of these opportunities, we have produced a set of new easy-to-use guidelines. In addition, these can be used by all companies, not just those that are legally obliged to prepare a Business Review. Indeed, businesses measuring, managing and reporting their environmental performance can save on costs, enhance reputation and reduce risk."
Government renew grants to support
Environment Minister Elliot Morley
has today confirmed over £2 million pounds worth of funding to support
projects looking at sustainable living. Over 35 projects from voluntary
groups across England are set to benefit from continued funding from Defra's
Environmental Action Fund.
Among the projects being funded:
Full details of today's funding along with further information on the projects being supported is available at www.defra.gov.uk/environment/eaf/index.htm.
Energy debate kicks off as ministers
warn doing nothing not an option
The debate on future energy policy
for the UK was thrown open today at the start of the public phase of the
Government's Energy Review.
"I want the widest possible engagement in this vital debate. We need to look at the risks to security of supply, our climate change commitments and, to the long term, to make sure we take the necessary action. There is not a do nothing option. We start from a strong base. We have enjoyed some of the cheapest prices in Europe for a decade now despite recent increases. We have lifted four million households out of fuel poverty since 1997 and our economy is on track to meet our Kyoto targets on climate change. We're getting more energy from renewables than ever before. But there are important challenges ahead and the consultation document serves as a wake up call." (Full story/Consultation document)
Woodland managers plan for climate
As the threat of climate change
becomes a reality, new advice published today advises woodland owners
and managers to start taking steps now, to protect our woods and forests
for future generations. The publication: 'Living with climate change
and its effect on trees and woodland in the East of England', has
been produced by the Forestry Commission, together with the Climate Change
group of the East of England Sustainable Development Round Table. It offers
practical guidance to help plan ahead for the effects of climate change,
both in terms of minimising its adverse impacts and taking advantage of
potential biodiversity opportunities created by a warmer climate. Forestry
Minister Jim Knight praised the new guidance, saying:
"We must acknowledge that climate change is happening, and that we are already seeing its effects. We cannot view climate change as just another pressure threatening our landscapes - we need to act now to ensure we can adapt to climate change as much as possible...I applaud the Forestry Commission and East of England Sustainable Development Round Table for working together to produce this important and timely publication. I encourage everyone involved in landscape conservation around the country, from local councils to forest managers and private landowners to look at it very closely. Its advice and guidance will be beneficial to everyone." [Full story]
Going to the sales? Defra launches green labels guide
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has launched a guide to the trusted 'green' labels and logos on the products in our shops. Not every product advertised as 'environment-friendly' lives up to the claim. Defra's guide will help shoppers confused by the many different labels and logos on products and packaging. The pocket-sized guide shows the environmental labels you are most likely to find on products from washing machines to coffee and cars to footballs; and explains what they mean.
Environment minister Elliot Morley said:
"Individual consumers have a vital role to play when they are choosing which goods and services to buy. Some products really are more environmentally responsible than others - but it can be difficult to know which ones. A lot of companies use environmental labels and claims in one way or another as evidence of their commitment to the environment, and we certainly encourage them to provide information that's relevant and reliable. But consumers need to know what these labels mean and what claims they can trust. The new guide will certainly help, especially now as we enter one of the busiest shopping times of the year." [Full story]
Review of funding for Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) report published
Defra sponsor HBOS Supply Chain Award- call for entries
Defra recognises the huge potential for public sector
sustainable procurement to help deliver its sustainable development objectives.
In April 2005 Defra and the Treasury jointly established the Sustainable
Procurement Task Force.
The Task Force are working with suppliers and commissioning research to find out what it's currently like doing business with the public sector and how we can bring about more sustainable procurement practices.
We recognise that the public sector, its suppliers and others can bring about a positive impact on society and the environment through our supply chain management.
Defra's sustainable development unit are delighted to be sponsoring the HBOS Supply Chain Awards and encourage supply chain practitioners to apply for this prestigious award.
The Supply Chain Award, run in association with CIPS, and also sponsored by HBOS, aims to inspire companies to address potentially problematic issues in their supply chains such as labour standards, environmental management, and health and safety. Entries are submitted against a framework covering quality of management and actual impact and are independently assessed by a panel of knowledgeable supply chain practitioners. Final judging is carried out by a group of senior business leaders. The deadline for entries is March 3rd 2006 .
For more information about the Task Force please visit www.sustainable-development.gov.uk/delivery/global-local/ProcurementTaskForce.htm
Launch of Regional Sustainable Development Indicators
Regional versions of the UK Government’s indicators of sustainable
development were published today to help provide a perspective of sustainable
development in each region.
Tomorrow's climate, today's challenge: working together to tackle climate change
A new three year drive to communicate the threat of climate change and the need for everyone to tackle the problem was launched by Environment Secretary Margaret Beckett and Climate Change Minister Elliott Morley today. The announcement unveils a series of new communication resources that tell the story of climate change and seek to inspire people to get involved in the campaign.
It will include a new identity for the campaign: 'Tomorrow's Climate, Today's Challenge' which will unite efforts by Defra, and its key delivery partners - the Carbon Trust, Energy Saving Trust, Environment Agency and UK Climate Impacts Programme - to communicate the issue. Details of how private sector groups, organisations and charities will apply for money from a £6m fund over three years will also be announced. Mrs Beckett said it was vital all sectors of the community worked together to overcome one of the most compelling issues facing society today. Mrs Beckett said:
"This communications drive is to accompany the policies which have made the UK a leader in tackling climate change. Climate change has been a key priority for our G8 and EU Presidencies and the UK has taken the subject to the top of the international political agenda. But climate change affects all of us - so all of us need to hold the key to solving this issue. Government, business and environment NGO's need work in partnership together to engage people from all walks of life to tackle climate change." (Full story)
Andrew Lee appointed as Sustainable Development Commission's first director
Andrew Lee, currently the Director of Campaigns at WWF UK, has been appointed as Director of the Sustainable Development Commission. He will take up his new post in February 2006. This is the first time the Commission has appointed a Director at this level, reflecting the enhanced role the Commission will assume in 2006. At that point, its current activities (acting both as advocate for sustainable development and as the Government's principal adviser on all sustainable development matters, reporting directly to the Prime Minister and the First Ministers in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) will be reinforced by a more substantial 'watchdog' and monitoring role. Jonathon Porritt, Chairman of the Commission, welcomed this important development:
"This post is probably the most important in the burgeoning field of sustainable development in the UK, as reflected in the extraordinary quality and diversity of the candidates it attracted. Following an open competition, Andrew emerged as the best person for this exceptionally demanding challenge, and am delighted at the prospect of working with him as the Commission moves into the next phase of its life."
In formally accepting the post, Andrew Lee acknowledged the importance of this change in the SDC's role:
"The SDC has already established a strong track record for the quality of its analysis and its advice to government, and I am delighted to be taking up the challenge of further developing its role as 'official watchdog', and growing the organisation to create a world class centre of excellence on the policy and practice of sustainable development."
From Here to Sustainability: The Learning and Skills Council launch a Strategy for Sustainable Development
The Learning and Skills Council (LSC), a public body responsible for planning and funding further education in England, today launched their strategy for sustainable development. It describes sustainable development and explains why it is important and looks at how the LSC and the learning and skills sector can work together to contribute to sustainable development. The strategy makes recommendations for a series of key actions relating to: buildings and estates; the curriculum; community engagement, and positioning the sector. It also builds on good practice and was produced with guidance from an external advisory group. The strategy takes into account responses received to a wide-ranging consultation on the draft of the strategy in December 2004. The document can be downloaded from the Learning and Skills Council's website.
UK and China sign agreement on sustainable development
Today saw the launch of a major new agreement between the UK and China on sustainable development. A joint statement marking the launch of a high-level dialogue on sustainable development was signed between the UK Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott, and his Chinese counterpart State Councillor Tang Jiaxuan.
Taking place during the state visit of China's president, Hu Jintao, the agreement will establish a coherent framework for engagement on the complex and cross-cutting issue of sustainable development between the two governments.
Sustainability was a key theme of the President's visit to the UK being picked up in a variety of speeches by figures ranging from the head of BP China to the Lord Mayor of London. This will give further impulse to bilateral cooperation on sustainable development that is now at both a practical as well as strategic level of engagement.
Remarking on the agreement, State Councillor Tang noted that it would bring glory on the state visit and deepen cooperation between the UK and China in an area of profound national importance. The Deputy Prime Minister noted the importance that his China Task Force attached to sustainable development as both the UK and China grappled with the challenges of a globalised world. Recognising the importance of science and technology - and today's budding scientists - in finding solutions to the challenges of more sustainable growth, the agreement was signed in the presence of some China's leading young scholars currently in the UK on science scholarship programmes.
These students form part of the 50,000 strong contingent of Chinese students currently in the UK - the physical manifestation of improved cultural links and scientific cooperation. Greeting his young compatriots with evident pleasure, State Councillor Tang commended them on their achievements and encouraged them to work hard and bring pride to their nation.
Representing the lead government department behind the initiative, Defra Director, Robert Lowson, noted this was a pioneering attempt to address - in a coherent and constructive way - some of the profound sustainable development challenges being faced by both the UK and China. These issues range from protecting natural resources and urbanization, to sustainable production and economic globalization.
The signing also coincided with a seminar on China and globalisation
organised by the Centre for Europe Reform and attended by leading academics
and thinkers from China and Europe. The Deputy Prime Minister and State
Councillor Tang also delivered addresses at this event.
The China dialogue is part of a series of similar dialogues on sustainable development with key emerging partners to deepen the UK's cooperation on international sustainable development issues. The UK and India signed a similar agreement on 11 th October 2005 in London. Other dialogue countries include Brazil, South Africa and Mexico. Download the agreements or view further information on international sustainable development.
The future is local - Sustainable Public Procurement and 'Securing the Future' Conference 3-4 November 2005
Priorities for procurement will be the focus of a trailblazing conference in Cambridge on 3 and 4 November, the first of a series of national events for the UK's sustainable development strategy, 'Securing the Future'.
Procurement professionals, practitioners and council buyers from across the UK, who are responsible for sourcing goods for a wide range of services including purchasing food for their local schools, will be attending the event. One of the aims is to build on priorities for the strategy and exchange knowledge with EU counterparts on the achievements and challenges of those at the forefront of sustainable procurement. A variety of key speakers from the UK and EU will be attending the conference, including Sir Neville Simms, Chairman of the Sustainable Procurement Task Force for the UK. He and the other speakers will talk about a range of issues facing local buyers, the reinvention of supply chains and building on current plans and key objectives.
The conference is the result of joint efforts between Defra, the Government Office for the East of England and the Regional Centres of Excellence, who have been working with European partners, ICLEI (Local Governments for Sustainability) who manage the 'Buy-it-Green' Network of local authority procurement members from Europe ('BIG-NET').
Topics and workshops at the conference will focus on the way ahead for local food supply and look at means of supporting sustainable procurement for local businesses and the construction sector. A key theme for the workshops will be how buyers can translate the current EU policy into practice and use the leverage of the public sector to deliver better quality, greater efficiency gains and sustainable outcomes. These topics tie-in with the delivery of the National Procurement Strategy for Local Government in England and actions in 'Securing the Future', the UK Sustainable Development Strategy launched this year. (Full story/conference details)
Residents to be tempted to recycle more
Millions of households across England will be tempted to recycle more of their rubbish and cut down their waste with many local authorities offering prize draws, cash rewards and community gifts from this month (October). Around 50 schemes across the country will pilot, test and assess various approaches to incentivise people to recycle and reduce waste. Personal rewards for regular recycling - including cash awards, prizes and discount vouchers for shopping and local leisure facilities - will be offered by some local authorities. Recycling lotteries, league tables, text messages, scratchcards will be trailed by others.
In some cases schools and charities will be cashing in on increased recycling. In others, communities will be rewarded with cash for local schemes and improvements. Local Environmental Quality Minister, Ben Bradshaw said he hoped that the schemes would not only encourage regular recyclers to recycle more, but would help to engage with people who have yet to start recycling regularly. He said:
"Getting people to change their behaviour is a challenge, and recycling is no exception. While there are millions of dedicated recyclers, there are still many families and people who have yet to start recycling regularly. We want to find new ways to encourage these people to start recycling and help regular recyclers by making it easier for them to fit recycling into their lives." (Full story)
Promoting prosperity with climate change policy - Margaret Beckett speaks at Clinton global initiative event in New York
Climate change threatens the eradication of poverty and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, Secretary of State Margaret Beckett said today. Speaking at the Clinton Global Initiative event in New York, USA, Mrs Beckett said the UK-funded study on Africa and climate change showed that existing climate variability already hampered development efforts. She said:
"Future climate change threatens to undermine our efforts to tackle Africa's poverty and sustainable development. Climate variability and climate change put some $10-20bn of net overseas development assistance in developing countries at risk each year,"
Mrs Beckett said the G8 Environment and Development Ministers - backed by G8 leaders at the Gleneagles Summit - had endorsed the need for assisting Africa in developing the scientific and technical capacity to cope with climate change. Speaking during a session on 'Promoting Prosperity with Climate Change Policy', Mrs Beckett said international business had much to contribute to and gain from moving to a lower carbon economy. She highlighted the need for partnership between governments and business to combat climate change. (Full story)
Government backs British Airways carbon offset scheme
British Airways has launched a new scheme, backed by the government, where its customers can volunteer to help to offset the carbon dioxide emissions from their flight by making a contribution to an environmental trust. The money raised will be used by an organisation called Climate Care to invest in sustainable energy projects that tackle global warming by reducing carbon dioxide levels.
Air travellers can choose to make a donation from today via a link from the airline's website, for the cost of the emissions created by their journey. For example, the donation on a return flight from London Heathrow to Madrid will cost £5 and a return flight from London Heathrow to Johannesburg will cost £13.30. Dr Andrew Sentance, British Airways' chief economist and head of environmental affairs, said:
"We are committed to addressing our impact on climate change and our own carbon emissions from aircraft are down by eight per cent since 2000. However, some customers are keen to go beyond this and totally offset the emissions created by their flights. To help them, we are delighted to offer this facility." (Full story)
2 nd international expert meeting of the UN Process on Sustainable Consumption and Production gets underway
The 2 nd international expert meeting of the UN Process on Sustainable Consumption and Production (the 'UN Marrakech Process') began today in Costa Rica. The UN Marrakech Process is an expert-level follow-up to the World Summit on Sustainable Development commitment on sustainable consumption and production (SCP). Over 160 experts representing 75 countries will attend the meeting to review the conclusions of the regional consultations under the Marrakech process and to establish ways to improve international cooperation and assistance on the implementation of priority issues. The meeting will run from the 5th to the 8th of September. (Read more)
Sustainable development in action: Environment Minister visits 'the best of'
Environment Minister Elliot Morley is going on the road to see how people, businesses and public authorities across England are promoting sustainable development. Mr Morley's tour will take in green housing developments, energy-saving public sector schemes and business efforts to reduce water use, waste and power as well as projects involving community groups aimed at creating a better quality of life. Mr Morley will be in West Yorkshire on September 6, Birmingham on September 22 and Newcastle on December 13, meeting local business and community representatives. Mr Morley said:
"It is vital that everybody gets involved in sustainable development. That goes for public authorities, who can set an example and lead the development of new markets, for example in timber procurement. Businesses can save millions of pounds by cutting waste and their use of resources; individuals, can make more environmental choices in their daily lives and communities, can come together to implement projects such as recycling and improving local environmental quality. I look forward to seeing some examples of best practice in action and meet the people behind them."
Timber procurement helpine launched
A new helpline has been set up to give advice to public sector bodies and their suppliers about how to purchase legal and sustainable timber. The free helpline service will provide government and companies supplying government with information on how to specify legal and sustainable timber and how to assure themselves they are getting what they ask for.
The Central Point of Expertise on Timber (CPET) helpline is operated by ProForest, a company with wide experience in responsible purchasing. ProForest has begun promoting the service across the UK public sector. Environment Minister Elliot Morley said:
"This new helpline service will provide valuable advice to those seeking to purchase and supply legal and sustainable timber. The provision of good quality and reliable guidance is essential if the government's aim of protecting and conserving endangered forests is to be met." (Full story)
Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) launch 'Sector Sustainability Challenge'
The Department of Trade and Industry today launched the 'Sector Sustainability
Challenge'. The aim of the initiative is to support a number of sectoral
or supply chain initiatives promoting Sustainable Consumption and Production
(SCP). It is open to all sectors, including the service sectors and aims
to encourage collaboration between both larger and smaller associations.
£100K is available in total for the Sector Sustainability Challenge
over the financial year 2005 – 06. The fund will support a limited
number of initiatives promoting, developing, or implementing sectoral
sustainable development in ways that stimulate practical actions that
lead to improved performance. DTI welcomes applications from companies of
any size, and/or trade associations. For more information see the
Challenge pages on the DTI website.
New indicators launched to measure local quality of life
A new set of indicators, published today by the Audit Commission, will help councils and their partners to paint a picture of the quality of life in specific local areas.
Quality of life indicators are a useful voluntary tool to see how local areas are performing economically, environmentally and socially. They cover aspects of community safety, the environment and other measures that contribute to the development of genuinely sustainable communities as set out in Securing the Future, the government's recently published Sustainable Development Strategy.
For the first time, a definitive set of measures have been identified by the Audit Commission, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM). Previously these indicators were held separately by several public sector bodies.
Forty-five indicators will measure the quality of life in individual localities and the effectiveness of local sustainable community strategies, which are also closely linked to national sustainable development indicators. For more information see the Local Quality of Life indicators publication or read the full press release.
Environment Minister urges 'Green holidaymaking'
Holidaymakers flying to the sun this summer are being encouraged to consider 'carbon offsetting' as way of reducing the environmental impact of their holiday travel by Environment Minister Elliot Morley. Carbon dioxide emissions from aeroplanes are a growing contributor to climate change, and emissions from air travel can form a large part of the environmental impact of holidaymaking. Carbon off-setting enables airline passengers to donate money to schemes which reduce carbon emissions either in this country or overseas. The UK has decided to offset the carbon dioxide emissions arising from the G8 this year and Whitehall departments will be offsetting their air flights from April next year. Mr Morley said:
"Large numbers of Britons head for their well-earned holidays at this time of year and flying by air can deliver them safely to exciting destinations at great speed. But there is an environmental cost; in particular, flying has a significant environmental impact because of the distances covered and the amount of CO2 emitted; there is also much scientific opinion which believes that emitting these gases at high altitude increases the climate change impact. For example, a return transatlantic flight can produce up to two tonnes of carbon dioxide per passenger.
Obviously a great many things individuals do, both essential and for pleasure, cause emissions, not all of which can be offset; however, I would ask travelers to consider whether, in addition to enjoying their holidays, they counter some of the environmental damage by subscribing to one of the offset schemes available. It's relatively cheap, for example, to offset the climate change impact of a flight to the Mediterranean only costs around £5 to offset." (Full story)
Beckett welcomes G8 plan of action on climate change
G8 leaders at Gleneagles have agreed steps to slow down and in time to reverse the rise in greenhouse gas emissions. Environment Secretary Margaret Beckett has welcomed the outcome of the G8 talks on climate change. She said:
"It has been a major step forward that the UK Government has made climate change a priority of its G8 Presidency. It has meant that the Summit focussed the attention of both the G8 leaders and the five leaders of the world's most significant emerging economies on the importance of taking urgent action to tackle climate change. The Summit has now agreed a clear step forward:
Morley leads sustainable development debate in Westminster Hall
Elliot Morley the Minister for Climate Change and the Environment today lead a debate on sustainable development in Westminster Hall. The full transcript can be read on the parliament website.
'One Planet Olympics' - London plans the most sustainable Olympic Games ever
Building on the ecological and sustainable ideals developed in Sydney and Athens, London's bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games was a bid for the most sustainable Games ever. The Government helped promote the sustainable elements of London's bid, and is delighted that it has been successful.
The London 2012 vision for the Olympic Games 2012 embodies the concept of a 'One Planet Olympics', which complements the Olympic ideal of 'sport and the harmonious development of mankind' and the notion of fair play in sport. For more information see the London 2012 website.
Sustainable development indicators in your pocket 2005
A free pocket-sized booklet, presenting a new set of sustainable development indicators is published today.
Indicators in the booklet were outlined within the UK Government's Sustainable Development Strategy Securing the future, published in March 2005. The booklet provides a statistical baseline for 68 indicators in four priority areas:
The aim of this booklet is to make the indicators easily accessible to a wide audience. It includes a variety of economic, social and environmental issues of everyday concern including health, housing, jobs crime, education and our environment. To view and download the document, go to sustainable development indicators in your pocket. For further information about the release of indicators in your pocket view the news release. To view the indicators click on the following link view indicators.
'Together we can secure the future' launched to boost community action on sustainable development
Elliot Morley, Minister for Environment and Climate Change today joined other Ministers from across Government to launch a series of measures to give a real boost to community action which secures a better, more sustainable future for all.
The Minister launched "Together we can secure the future", as part of a Government action plan which will give communities a bigger say and a bigger role in tackling issues such as climate change and energy efficiency to reducing food-miles, recycling more and creating greener parks and spaces. Elliot Morley said:
"Communities have a vital role to play in securing a more sustainable future for all. There are many different ways in which any type of community group can join in the effort and make a big difference through small, practical actions. Hundreds of community groups across the country are already showing the way by saving energy, promoting local food, supporting fair-trade, recycling or getting involved in local plans which shape the future of their areas." For more information see the Together we can pages.
Leading the way on sustainable purchasing - Task force leads the way
The Government must lead by example in using its purchasing power to further sustainable development, Secretary of State Margaret Beckett and Chief Secretary Des Browne said today.
Mrs Beckett and Mr Browne were speaking on the day of the first meeting of the sustainable public procurement task force, set up under the Government's Sustainable Development Strategy, "Securing the Future', launched by the Prime Minister in March.
The group is charged with drawing up an action plan by April 2006 to bring about a step-change in sustainable public procurement so that the UK is among the leaders in the EU by 2009. With a budget of over £125bn, the public sector can transform markets so hat the private sector can join forces in pursuing sustainable purchasing policies.
The task force is under the chairmanship of Sir Neville Simms, who is a leading private sector exponent of sustainable development.
Mrs Beckett and Mr Browne announced the full membership of the group, which has been chosen to bring up in a wide cross-section of expertise. Mrs Beckett said:
"The Government has a crucial role in furthering sustainable development through its procurement of goods, services and buildings. We want to be an example for others to follow and to demonstrate that everybody involved in purchasing - including householders and the public and private sectors - can contribute to sustainable development." For further information on the Task force including the full membership go to the Public Procurement Task force pages.
EU Emmissions Trading Scheme - Trading gets the green light
Firms covered by the EU Emissions Trading Scheme will be able to open their UK carbon accounts later this week, the Government announced today. This Scheme is one of the main components in the fight against climate change.
It follows the publication today of allowances for installations covered by Phase I of the Scheme. Emissions trading will start in the UK with the UK Registry becoming operational, allowing operators participating in the scheme to access their allowances.
These are the final steps towards full UK participation in the Scheme. Operators will be able to begin trading the allowances once their Registry accounts are opened this week. The Scheme is set to help reduce carbon dioxide emissions by around 65 million tonnes carbon dioxide (around 8 per cent) below projected emissions of the installations covered by the Scheme over the next three years.
The Emissions Trading Registry is web-based, and records CO2 allowances held in firms accounts. The Registry allows allowances to be transferred to other accounts both within the UK and in other participating countries. The Registry software, developed by Defra, has been a great success having been licensed to 12 other States. Margaret Beckett, Secretary of State for Environment, said:
"I am delighted this Scheme is now going live in the UK. It will become one of the main ways to cut carbon dioxide emissions, while maintaining economic growth." (Full story)
Beckett welcomes budget support for sustainable development and environment
Margaret Beckett, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs welcomed today's Budget and the Chancellor's clearly stated commitment to sustainable development and his intention to meet the global challenge of climate change. The Chancellor's announcements include:
Margaret Beckett said:"I welcome this Budget, in particular its new measures promoting environmental protection: environmental protection is important not only in its own right but as a staple of economic growth. As the Chancellor said in his speech to the G8 environment and energy ministers conference in London yesterday, 'If our economies are to flourish, if global poverty is to be banished, and if the well-being of the world's people enhanced - not just in this generation but in succeeding generations - we must make sure we take care of the natural environment and resources on which our economic activity depends.'" (Full story)
Securing the future: Prime Minister launches new UK Sustainable Development Strategy
The new UK Government sustainable development strategy Securing the Future was published today. The Prime Minister today said the Government would lead by example in promoting sustainable development:
"By joining up thinking and action across all levels of government, and by setting long term objectives, the Government is dedicated to securing the future for all. I want to use this new strategy as a catalyst for action - to secure the future for all of us."
An official launch event is being staged in London today with several Government Ministers.
The UK Government and Devolved Administrations launched their new Strategic Framework, One future - different paths, in conjunction with this. This document sets out the common challenges and goals in sustainable development, shared between the UK Government, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.[Press release - www.defra.gov.uk/news/2005/050307b.htm]
Margaret Becket's Speech at the UK Sustainable Development Strategy Launch - Imagination Gallery, London
A transcript of the event will be available via this site in a couple of weeks.
01 February 2005
Beckett makes global call to tackle climate change
Speaking at the UK's international conference on climate change in Exeter, Mrs. Beckett said an international approach to combat climate change was vital as no single country could solve the problem by acting alone.
Mrs Beckett welcomed the coming into force later this month of the Kyoto Protocol. Although it would only shave between two and three per cent of the predicted 30 per cent rise in global carbon dioxide emissions from 1990-2010, she noted:
"Kyoto is an essential first step and shows what can be done when the international community works together. But we need to move forward through low carbon technology, greater energy efficiency, emissions trading schemes and the clean development mechanism which provides a novel way to slow growth in developing country emissions while at the same time providing resources and new technologies that will aid development."
10 Jan 2005
Government leads second reading debate on bill to help clean
up our streets and beat environmental crime
The debate, led by Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Margaret Beckett, will give MPs the opportunity to discuss key measures contained in the wide-ranging Bill - an important part of Government's overall plan to create cleaner, safer and greener communities.
Low-level offending, such as the daubing of graffiti, creates neighbourhoods which become run down and decayed and often escalates into more serious crime. Dereliction and anti-social behaviour make people feel uneasy and unsafe. A key proposal in the Bill is amending the Crime and Disorder Act to make clear that Crime and Disorder Partnerships should consider the state of the local environment when carrying out audits and developing strategies. Secretary of State Margaret Beckett said:
"Environmental damage such as graffiti, fly-posting and general littering is a menace that is becoming all too prevalent, not just in inner cities but in many communities - urban and rural. It creates or adds to a community's sense of neglect and makes people fear that no-one cares for their neighbourhood. This is a practical Bill which we have brought forward following requests from local authorities, and will go a long way to help them and other agencies tackle the problem. The Bill recognises that the quality of the local environment is vitally important to everybody wherever they live. In particular, it gives additional powers to parish councils and tackles fly-tipping which is of great concern to farmers and land-owners."
Updated: 20 November 2007
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